Data: Students in Free Enterprise It's hard work to burn money--at least if you do it the old-fashioned way. Just ask Ralph Wanger, portfolio manager of $5 billion Liberty Acorn Fund. In the fund's most recent quarterly report, Wanger calculated how long it would take his 20 analysts to burn $956 million, the amount of money the fund lost during the first nine months of 2002. "If one person diligently burned [a] $100 bill at the rate of one bill every 10 seconds and worked seven hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that one person could burn up $63 million in a year," he writes.
Working together, though, all 20 analysts could burn the money in the same amount of time as it took them to lose the money in the stock market. "Obviously our people did not stoke fires for nine months," notes Wanger. "They worked hard and showed enough skill to lose less money than the market averages. Still, the assets did disappear, and we didn't even have the fun of the weenie roast." Imagine the size of the bonfire if every mutual fund manager followed suit. What do Brio's pull-along snail and Rose Art Industries' Soap Making Kit have in common? Both toys had a manufacturer or U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall. For a list of the 350 major recalled toys mostly since April, 2001, click on the Consumer Federation of America's new Web site, www.safechild.net/toyrecalldatabase. A startling array of quilts that look like Abstract Expressionist paintings are on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York through Mar. 2. They are the work of the women of Gee's Bend, 50 miles south of Selma, Ala. Because the town is surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River, the quilters were isolated and not swayed by outside influences. As a result, their quilts have unorthodox designs.